Warriors win D-6 team title|
Monday, February 4, 2013
By Jaclyn Yingling Sports Editor
TYRONE - The last time the West Branch wrestling team won a District 6 title, most of the current team wasn't even born.
In fact, athletic director and assistant coach Davey Williamson was only in ninth grade at the school, while head coach Jason Bainey was just a sophomore at Philipsburg-Osceola High School. So, it's safe to say this one was a long time coming.
In front of large crowd of West Branch fans, the Warriors breezed to title, toppling Mount Union, 45-17, in a rematch of last year's final.
The district title was the school's first in any sport since the wrestling team won the team race at the 1995 District 6 Individual Wrestling Championships.
The top-seeded Warriors got some big wins in both the title match and in their semifinal bout with Penns Valley, where they came out on top, 39-24.
It was a marquee win for a program, which underwent a massive rebuild when Bainey took over five years ago.
"Anything less than a district championship would be a disappointment after finishing runner-up last year," he said. "But, we knew Mount Union had their whole team back and they beat us by 30 last year in the finals. This year, we turned it around to a 30-point win.
"Our guys kept believing in what we had to say. We have to give Penns Valley credit, too. They've improved their team, too. It's nice to get wins over good programs like that."
Things went much smoother for West Branch against the Trojans this time around in the finals.
The Warriors pulled out to a 6-0 lead with big wins from Lucas Kristofits and Vince McDowell.
Both wrestlers faced the same opponents as when they wrestled in a regular-season dual meet at Mount Union on Dec. 20, but with dramatically different results.
Kristofits, who was majored by Cory Kylor in their first matchup, came out strong to start the match at 170 pounds. The Warrior senior used a second-period flurry to build up a 6-0 lead before resisting a challenge by Kylor in the third.
The Trojan grappler cut the lead to 6-3, but Kristofits held on for the win.
Teammate McDowell, who also scored a big win on Wednesday against Cambria Heights, took on Darrian Stapleton at 182. The Warrior freshman looked confident from the start and spent most of the first period trying different shots.
But he saved his scoring for the second period, where he garnered an escape, a takedown and a reversal to go up 5-2 heading into the final period. Stapleton chose down in the third, but McDowell opted to give him the escape to start at neutral.
The strategy worked, as McDowell took Stapleton down to the mat once more to nab the 7-4 victory and get a standing ovation from the Warrior crowd.
"Lucas got majored by Kylor earlier in the year, and Vince got beat 10-3 by Stapleton," Bainey said. "That just shows how hard our guys were working to turn a loss around into a big win. We got those two wins right off the bat and that really helped.
"Vince McDowell stepped it up today. For a freshman, he wrestled big time."
West Branch fell 3-1 in the next match, but the Warriors upperweight duo of Buzzy Maines and Morgan Selepack quickly upped the ante.
Maines took down Phil Kyle less than 10 seconds into his match and pinned the grappler in 36 seconds.
Selepack took a little longer, but worked Nik Smith to his back for the fall in 3:40.
The Trojans forfeited to Dustin Deliman at 106, increasing West Branch's lead to 24-3.
Mount Union did score a victory in its next match, as Sage Moist downed Wyatt Sankey, 12-4, to trim the advantage to 24-7.
The Warriors got the points right back, as Abe Albright edged Tyler Foor, 3-2, at 120 pounds. Albright fell behind, 2-1, after the second period, but scored a big takedown in the third for the win.
The momentum was clearly in the Warriors' favor, something Bainey was pleased to see after struggling against Cambria Heights in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
"They responded well to my criticism," he said. "I didn't single any kids out, but as a team we just weren't amped up enough and ready to go. I thought we could wrestle better, and today they were ready to go.
"When they sit around all day they get lethargic, but when we get them going in the morning they seem ready to go."
Mount Union won the match at 126 pounds, to move the score to 27-13.
At 132 pounds, J.P. Hayles downed Kord Aurand, 5-0. Hayles won the first meeting 3-1 in overtime, but this time around Hayles controlled the match from the beginning for the shutout victory.
The West Branch senior picked up his 100th win with a fall of Matt Hosterman in the semis, becoming Bainey's first 100-win wrestler.
"That was awesome," said Bainey of the achievement. "He came to me as a freshman. It's only my fifth year at West Branch.
"Five years ago we only had about six kids on the team, so to win a district title and have kids reaching goals like 100 wins is a major accomplishment. It's great for the kids. J.P. is proud and I'm proud of him."
Parker Bumbarger gave the Warriors another fall at 138, downing Robbie Steel in 36 seconds to increase West Branch's lead to 36-13.
That sealed the match with three bouts to go.
Still the Warriors didn't cruise through, as Clayton Green earned a hard-fought 4-2 decision over Tyler Long, before Luke Slippey won by injury default in 51 seconds.
Mount Union closed out the match with an 11-2 victory, but West Branch earned the automatic trip to Hershey with the 45-17 final.
"It feels awesome to win a district title," said Hayles. "As a team, we've worked hard and it's nice to see it pay off in the end."
West Branch improved to 24-2. The Warriors travel to Hershey on Thursday to face District 7 runner-up South Fayette, which lost to Burrell, 35-30, on Saturday in the WPIAL title match.
"They know what to expect going down there now," said Bainey. "They have all been there. We have a good draw in the bracket. I think we can do well."
Mount Union travels to face District 3 runner-up Bermudian Springs, which fell to Boiling Springs, 31-31 on criteria E flip (most six-point wins) on Saturday.
NOTES: In the consolation match, Penns Valley upended Huntingdon, 42-29. ... That gave the Rams their first 20-win season in school history. West Branch went 1-1 in the flip on Saturday.
District 6 Class AA Team Duals Championship
West Branch 45, Mount Union 17
170-Lucas Kristofits, WB, dec. Cory Kylor, MU, 6-3. (3-0).
182-Vince McDowell, WB, dec. Darrian Stapleton, MU, 7-4. (6-0).
195-Devon Kylor, MU, dec. Robbie Pearce, WB, 3-1. (6-3).
220-Buzzy Maines, WB, pinned Phil Kyle, MU, :36. (12-3).
285-Morgan Selepack, WB, pinned Nik Smith, MU, 3:40. (18-3).
106-Dustin Deliman, WB, won by forfeit. (24-3).
113-Sage Moist, MU, maj. dec. Wyatt Sankey, WB, 12-4. (24-7).
120-Abe Albright, WB, dec. Tyler Foor, MU, 3-2. (27-7).
126-Jacob Boozel, MU, pinned Jake Brown, WB, 1:00. (27-13).
132-J.P. Hayles, WB, dec. Kord Aurand, MU, 5-0. (30-13).
138-Parker Bumbarger, WB, pinned Robbie Steel, MU, :36. (36-13).
145-Clayton Green, WB, dec. Tyler Long, MU, 4-2. (39-13).
152-Luke Slippey, WB, won by inj. def. over Brian Neymo, MU, :51. (45-13).
160-Dylan Smith, MU, maj. dec. Conor Myers, WB, 11-2. (45-17).
West Branch 39, Penns Valley 24
In the semifinal match, the Warriors faced their biggest test of the dual meet tournament so far, topping the Rams, 39-24, after winning five of the final six bouts.
The match started at 160 and Penns Valley won the flip, giving it the choice with the best part of its lineup to begin the match.
That's how the Rams got out to a good start the last time the two teams wrestled, as the Warriors managed to eke out the 33-31 win.
Penns Valley started with a 7-2 decision at 160 pounds, followed by 9-6 decision at 170.
But things went differently this time at 182 and 195, as both Pearce and McDowell avoided falls to lose by decisions.
"When you are going out there versus their studs from 160 to 195 and get out of that down just 12-0 with Vince McDowell only losing to (Maverick) Swartz, 5-3, and Robbie Pearce only losing 8-4, that's pretty good," said Bainey.
"Our guys battled today. We stayed off our backs and where our studs were at, we got the bonus points. Those guys did what they had to do. Those guys wrestled tough up and down the lineup."
West Branch quickly tied things up at 12-12 after Maines won by injury default over Michael Mundt in 1:13, and Selepack pinned Michael Confer flat in seven seconds.
Deliman picked up a fall at 106, downing Isacc Bierly in 1:23 to put the Warriors up 18-12.
Penns Valley tied things at 18-18 when Curtis Decker topped Sankey in 3:22.
From there it was all Warriors, as Brown won by fall at 120 before Albright picked up a 4-1 decision at 126.
The highlight of the match came at 132 when Hayles picked up his 100th win by pinning Hosterman in 2:30.
The West Branch senior led 5-0 after one period, but deferred choice to start the second. Hosterman chose down and Hayles took advantage, flipping the Ram to his back before scoring the fall.
After Hayles' hand was raised, he jumped into Bainey's arms before acknowledging the crowd, which held up red 100 signs.
"It was really awesome to get my 100th win here in a big environment like this with all of the fans here," said Hayles.
Teammate Bumbarger added a 13-7 decision to seal the victory for the Warriors, who pulled out to a 36-18 lead.
Penns Valley got a fall at 145 pounds, but West Branch closed out the meet with a 1-0 decision by Slippey to set the final at 39-24.
That sent the crowd into a frenzy, setting up the rematch with Mount Union, which had already finished up with Huntingdon by the time the Slippey match started.
"We've got a great crowd," Bainey said. "We sold 300 West Branch wrestling shirts this year. The fans are there every match, whether we are away or not. We've gone on the road and had more fans in the gym than the home team. And, these guys will all go to Hershey.
"You can't say enough about our booster club, our fans and our school. It's great to have that kind of support."
West Branch 39, Penns Valley 24
160-Andrew Hurd, PV, dec. Conor Myers, WB, 7-2. (0-3).
170-Corey Hazel, PV, dec. Lucas Kristofits, WB, 9-6. (0-6).
182-Michael Rogers, PV, dec. Robbie Pearce, WB, 8-4. (0-9).
195-Maverick Swartz, PV, dec. Vince McDowell, WB, 5-3. (0-12).
220-Buzzy Maines, WB, won by inj. def. over Michael Mundt, PV, 1:13. (6-12).
285-Morgan Selepack, WB, pinned Michael Confer, PV, :07. (12-12).
106-Dustin Deliman, WB, pinned Isacc Bierly, PV, 1:23. (18-12).
113-Curtis Decker, PV, pinned Wyatt Sankey, WB, 3:22. (18-18).
120-Jake Brown, WB, pinned Kolton Confer, PV, 1:31. (24-18).
126-Abe Albright, WB, dec. Jacob Confer, PV, 4-1. (27-18).
132-J.P. Hayles, WB, pinned Matt Hosterman, PV, 2:30. (33-18).
138-Parker Bumbarger, WB, dec. Dalton Zerby, PV, 13-7. (36-18).
145-Seth Decker, PV, pinned Clayton Green, WB, 3:12. (36-24).
152-Luke Slippey, WB, dec. Cole Confer, PV, 1-0. (39-24).